Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
( L - R ) Jamaica College's Robert Palmer, Bridgeport's André Steele, Ramone Palmer of JC
Jamaica College will have their hearts set on scratching a 33-year itch as they hunt for their first major schoolboy football title since 1974, when they take on defending champions Bridgeport High in the ISSA/Pepsi/Digicel Manning Cup final at the National Stadium at 3:00pm tomorrow.
Waterford and Kingston College will meet in the third palce play-off at 1 p.m.
Favourites headed into the encounter the JC faithful who will no doubt flock to the stadium believe it's about time for the dry spell to come to an end, but despite having registered a 4-0 thrashing of the Portmore team just two weeks ago, under-estimating the champions could prove to be a costly mistake. However, this is not a concern for JC coach Alfred Henry who says it will be business as usual for the dark blues come tomorrow.
"The team is preparing mentally and physically for this encounter because we are going out there to play good football," said JC coach.
"I never pressure my players to win, as I let them enjoy themselves and the end results are now visible," he added.
With some 60 goals having already been scored, while having conceded a mere five, JC, anchored by strongman Robert Palmer and leading goal scorer Ramone Palmer have been the class act of urban football this season. However, Bridgeport certainly have the ability to play with the best of them and have developed the reputation of being for the most part a big occasion team. While struggling to attain consistent play since the start of the second round, crafty under 17 National player Andre Steele and Adrian King certainly have the ability to unlock any backline, while the pairing of Andre Clennon and Darren Mattock up front is a danger to any team.
"We are very confident because we are the defending champions, we have the title and anybody who wants it has to beat us," remarked Bridgeport coach Anthony Patrick.
"The mood in the camp is very high and the players are ready and raring to go. The most important thing for us is that we have to make sure we put away the chances that we create and once we can do this we should win quite comfortably," he said.
The Portmore team, who also squeezed through to the final before ruining Excelsior's anniversary celebrations last season, have been no slouches in front of goal themselves, having netted some 40 goals but have on the flip side conceded twelve. Jamaica College have not been to a final since 1999 when they lost 3-2 to Tivoli.
Left: Anthony Patrick, coach of Bridgeport High School Right: JC's coach Alfred Henry (left) with another memebr of the JC camp. - Anthony Minott - file photos
Manning Cup roll call
Past Manning Cup winners: 2006: Bridgeport, 2005: Calabar, 2004: Excelsior, 2003: Excelsior, 2002: Norman Manley, 2001: Bridgeport, 2000: Norman Manley, 1999: Tivoli, 1998: Dunoon, 1997: competition called off, 1996: Norman Manley, 1995: Charlie Smith, 1994: Wolmer's, 1993: Excelsior, 1992: St. George's, 1991: Ardenne, 1990: Charlie Smith, 1989: Excelsior, 1988: Charlie Smith, 1987: STATHS, 1986: Kingston College, 1985: Kingston College, 1984: St. George's, 1983: St. George's, 1982: Camperdown, 1981: Kingston College, 1980: Excelsior, 1979: Camperdown, 1978: Camperdown, 1977: Calabar, 1976: Tivoli, 1975: Kingston College, 1974: Jamaica College, 1973: no competition, 1972: no competition, 1971: Wolmer's, 1970: Kingston College, 1969: Excelsior, 1968: Jamaica College, 1967: Kingston College, 1966: no competition, 1965: Kingston College, 1964: Kingston College, 1963: Jamaica College, 1962: Jamaica College, 1961: Jamaica College, 1960: no competition, 1959: St. George's 1958: Kingston College, 1957: Kingston College, 1956: St. George's, 1955: St. George's, 1954: no competition, 1953: Excelsior, 1952: Kingston College, 1951: Kingston College, 1950: Kingston College, 1949: Kingston College, 1948: St. George's, 1947: St. George's, 1946: Jamaica College, 1945: St. George's, 1944: no competition, 1943: Calabar, 1942: Jamaica College, 1941: Jamaica College, 1940: Jamaica College, 1939: Wolmer's, 1938: Wolmer's, 1937: St. George's, 1936: St. George's, 1935: St. George's, 1934: Jamaica College, 1933: Jamaica College, 1932: St. George's, 1931: Wolmer's, 1930: Wolmer's, 1929: St. George's, 1928: St. George's, 1927: St. George's, 1926: Wolmer's, 1925: Wolmer's, 1924: Wolmer's, 1923: Wolmer's, 1922: Jamaica College, 1921: Jamaica College, 1920: St. George's, 1919: Jamaica College, 1918: Jamaica College, 1917: Jamaica College, 1916: Jamaica College, 1915: Jamaica College, 1914: Jamaica College, 1913: Jamaica College, 1912: St. George's, 1911: no competition, 1910: Jamaica College, 1909: Jamaica College.